Connect with us

China

Japan’s new security agenda

Avatar

Published

on

In September 2015, Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe passed new security legislation permitting Japan to come to the aid of an ally under attack.

This was a crucial step in Japan’s journey to becoming a ‘normal’ nation able to do more for its own security.

Why did Abe enact such a major change in policy? Accusations that nationalism or militarism have been key factors behind these changes overlook the contemporary dynamics at play.

A major factor behind Abe’s decision is Japan’s alliance with the United States. A less restrained security policy was intended to enable Japan to contribute more to this alliance and fend off accusations that it is not paying its fair share. It was also hoped that such a change would ensure that the United States remained engaged in the Asia Pacific.

It is also important not to discount the current dynamics of Asia in Abe’s calculations.

Establishing a greater level of deterrence against what Japan sees as the ‘China threat’ has become an important justification for freeing up its security policy and strengthening relationships around the region.

Japan also sees itself as playing an important role in protecting the ‘rules-based’ regional order. Abe views this order as being under threat due to assertive territorial claims and military expansion across the region in recent years.

This transition to a ‘normal’ country, it must be acknowledged, has not been without controversy. The new security legislation caused outrage in China, with Abe depicted as a militarist. South Korea also expressed its wariness. Inside Japan, domestic opposition parties and protest movements were vocal in their disapproval, asserting among other things that the legislation violated the pacifist Constitution.

Well aware of the potentially destabilising effects of the legislation, Abe has been keen to reassure the region about Japan’s shift in strategy. One of the Japanese government’s tactics has been to tie in these changes with its commitment to a rules-based regional order. When Abe promoted his Proactive Contribution to Peace policy at the Shangri-La Dialogue in May 2014, he strongly emphasised the importance of freedom, democracy and the rule of law in Japan’s global outlook.

But just as importantly, Japan has stepped up its efforts to deepen relations with countries around the region. This effort has been especially apparent in Japan’s work to develop strategic partnerships with a number of Southeast Asian nations. Japan has particularly sought to reinforce international norms on maritime security by supporting the development of regional coast guard capabilities. Japan’s work in building up the surveillance capacity of the Philippines has been a key example of this policy.

Beyond Southeast Asia, Abe has also sought to develop closer relations with countries like Australia. Indeed, Japan’s 2016 Defence of Japan White Paper describes the relationship with Australia as one of Japan’s most cooperative.

As a part of their strategic partnership affirmed in 2007 — updated to a ‘special’ strategic partnership in 2014 — Japan and Australia have signed a number of security agreements, regularly participated in joint exercises, and have built a steady record of cooperation in humanitarian operations. Most importantly — given Australia’s responsibility and reputation as a key US ally — the Japan–Australia strategic partnership also helps with the goal of keeping the United States engaged in the region.

This strategy of active engagement in Asia, together with the promotion of a normal Japan as a key part of a mutually beneficial rules-based regional order, has been broadly well received. Far from criticising Japan for its security reform agenda, leaders in Indonesia, Malaysia, Singapore and Australia have all expressed outright support for Japan’s new policies. These are countries that have chosen to see Japan not through a lens of historical aggressor, but as a responsible international partner with the potential to contribute to a regional order into which they have all bought.

Without doubt, these responses to Japan’s new security agenda have also been driven by realpolitik calculations. Given the strategic uncertainties currently at play in Asia, many regional players have a strong preference for hedging policies. Yet these positive responses attest to the value of Japan’s record, dating back decades, of peaceful, proactive, and mutually beneficial engagement in the region, and reflect the post-war values that have become entrenched in Japanese society.

Author: Jason Buckley, ANU

Source link

Continue Reading
Advertisement
Comments

China

Why Foreign Firms Struggle to Break Into China

In 2017, an analysis by Goldman Sachs found that while S&P 500 companies earned 30 percent of their revenues outside of the United States, China accounted for only 1 percent of their revenues.

Avatar

Published

on

For growth-starved Western entrepreneurs, the Chinese market is appealing. Think about it: Since 1995, China’s economy has grown by a factor of 18.5, from US$735 billion to US$13.6 trillion (excluding Hong Kong).

(more…)

Continue Reading

China

How China is using tourists to realise its geopolitical goals

Over the last two decades, the number of Chinese overseas travellers rose by over 25 times from 5.3 million in 1997 to 130 million in 2017, contributing an estimated US$250 billion to overseas economies

East Asia Forum

Published

on

Decades of astonishing economic growth have given China new tools for extending its influence abroad and achieving its political goals. Some of these tools are inducements, including Belt and Road Initiative projects and new development financial institutions.

(more…)

Continue Reading

Banking

How China’s role in global finance has changed radically

Within the space of just 15 years, China has gone from being the largest net lender to the world to now being a net borrower. The implications for the global economy, and China’s role within that economy, could be significant.

East Asia Forum

Published

on

‘If you owe the bank $1 million, you have a problem. But if you owe the bank $1 trillion, then the bank has a problem’. It’s an old gag, but it underscores an important point: the size of your borrowing or lending can have profound implications for your role in the world.

(more…)

Continue Reading

Most Read

Upcoming Events

Mon 09

21st World conference pharmaceutical chemistry and drug design

December 9 @ 8:00 am - December 10 @ 5:00 pm BMT
DUBAI,UAE
Dubai
Jan 23

12th World Congress on Alzheimers Disease & Dementia

January 23, 2020 @ 9:00 am - January 24, 2020 @ 5:00 pm BMT
Feb 12

Future Energy Asia

February 12, 2020 - February 14, 2020
BITEC
Bangkok
Feb 19

13th World Congress on Nursing and Health Care

February 19, 2020 @ 9:00 am - February 20, 2020 @ 5:00 pm BMT
Phuket
Phuket city
Mar 11

Food science conferences

March 11, 2020 @ 8:00 am - March 12, 2020 @ 5:00 pm BMT

Press Release

Subscribe via Email

Enter your email address to subscribe and receive notifications of new posts by email.

Join 11,908 other subscribers

Trending